Synthetic urine, drug cleansers sold illegally

Smoke shop wants 12,000 confiscated pipes back

Authorities crackdown on stores that sell products to help illegal drug users beat drug tests. 

The undercover operation led to raids on two stores and purchases of such products from about nine local convenience stores

The undercover vice investigation started after complaints about Up in Smoke-- a smoke shop across from Sam Houston High in Moss Bluff.

Deputies raided the store which sold glass smoking pipes and products used to hide objects-- such as illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia.  Though they look like ordinary household items but the high price reveals they are so-called hideaways.

Investigators also found what's called synthetic urine. They showed reporters samples, not necessarily from the smoke shops.  The fake urine is used in place of real urine for a person undergoing a drug test; Also for sale: Detox liquids that aim to cleanse the body before a drug screening.

The same type investigation was also conducted at Blaze smoke shop at 3427 Ryan Street where deputies say synthetic urine and detox liquids were sold.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso and District Attorney John DeRosier say awareness of such products is important for employers.

"They're selling it in bulk at some of these parking lots at some of our industries to pass these drugs tests, so you certainly don't want people coming to work high and then masking their drug screens," said Mancuso.

"Now is not the time in Calcasieu Parish or in Louisiana or in this country to lower the bar to accommodate sub-standard behavior. That's what these products are doing," said DeRosier.

"We have a lot of work fixing to come to Southwest Louisiana and we certainly don't need people on drugs who are high doing this work for us and posing a danger to others and our community," said Mancuso.

In all five arrests were made.  From Up in Smoke, owner Lillian Mitchell and store employee John Garrett both booked on charges related to selling a product used to falsify a drug screening.

Blaze owner Yossi Galamidi  and two employees, Dylon Dugas and Andrew Singer were arrested and booked on the same charges.

The two store owners also face charges of illegal use of U.S. Currency.

The Up in Smoke store across from Sam Houston High was closed today. You could see some of its shelves had been cleared out.

Blaze was also closed and some shelves empty.  Mancuso says illegal products were removed from the shelves.

Detectives also did undercover operations at nine convenience stores where synthetic urine and or detox liquids were sold.

The clerk who sold the items from each convenience store was issued a misdemeanor summons for unlawful sales of supplying a product for the purpose of falsifying a drug screening.

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